DA, SRA slate 2nd stakeholder consultation on sugar imports

The Department of Agriculture (DA) will undertake a second round of stakeholders’ consultation to determine the volume of the proposed second round of sugar importation for the country to boost local supply and temper rising sweetener prices.

Agriculture Undersecretary-designate Kristine Y. Evangelista said the DA and the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) would meet industry stakeholders today (August 3) to determine the additional volume of sugar needed for the country’s proposed second importation program.

“The amount of sugar [to be imported] po will be discussed tomorrow with the stakeholders because we have to make sure first, we have a proper inventory of our current supply situation before we can even recommend any additional importation volume needed,” Evangelista said at a virtual news briefing on Tuesday.

“But what we are looking at right now is the supply at hand—we are assessing our current local supply if it will be reclassified for household consumption, knowing also that there is a demand for the industrial users,” Evangelista added.

Evangelista disclosed that the DA’s meeting with sugar industry stakeholders last Friday pushed through with the country’s current sugar supply situation as the main agenda.

Evangelista added that the “ways forward” to address present sugar supply will be discussed in this week’s consultation with industry stakeholders.

“After the meeting with the stakeholders, we will report to the President and our DA Secretary again,” she said.

Evangelista revealed last week that it is already preparing for another round of sugar importation as domestic supply is projected to be depleted by the end of this month. Evangelista pointed out that additional sugar imports would address the needs of industrial users and households. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/07/27/manila-eyes-fresh-round-of-sugar-imports-da-official/)

“We will have to determine the requirements of both the industrial users and the households,” she told reporters in an interview last week. “Our current sugar supply is very, very thin. It is still not enough, but our direction for the meantime is looking into a [new] sugar order for importation.”

Citing latest estimates of the SRA, Evangelista earlier said the country’s current refined sugar supply would be wiped out by end-August.

The SRA earlier projected that refined sugar supply would last until this week while raw sugar would be depleted by the first week of August. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/06/29/phl-may-run-out-of-sugar-by-august-sra/)

Evangelista said the imported sugar under the importation program authorized by Sugar Order (SO) 3 has started to arrive and has augmented local sugar supply.

SRA data showed 139,075.9 MT out of the total 200,000 MT of imported refined sugar under SO 3 has arrived in the country.

Latest SRA data showed the price of refined sugar in Metro Manila markets as of July 29 reached as high as P115 per kilogram (kg). Sugar prices rose above the P100-per-kg price level for the fifth consecutive week. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/07/25/price-of-refined-sugar-soarsamid-crippling-supply-woes/)